MAGNUM – Evolution [Japanese Edition] re-mastered / re-mixed / re-recorded
After the new MAGNUM album just released and featured here, some of you asked for the band’s CD “Evolution” appeared in Europe in 2011. However, this Japanese edition was released few years ago.
At this point in time and with more than a 40-year career, UK’s Magnum are some kind of institution in the Classic Rock scene. Their successful last albums have seen critics and fans comparing them to the glory days of the ’80s when LP’s such as ‘On A Storytellers Night’ or ‘Vigilante’ saw Magnum at the top of their creativeness.
Due this musical renaissance and a whole new generation rediscovering their back catalogue, Magnum decided to re-visit their 2000’s songs / albums.
“Evolution” is a reflection of that, consisting of songs released only after the bands’ reformation in 2001, re-mastered, re-mixed and partially re-recorded.
“Evolution” offers 2 tracks from each Magnum past decade albums: all have been re-mixed, tweaked, polished, and a few bits and pieces have been re-recorded. Plus, there’s two brand new songs for this release to enjoy.
Magnum’s sound has evolved over the years and that is shown in the remixes making the songs more cohesive to listen to here on one album.
This new make up – particularly the re-recorded parts – are most noticeable on the first four tracks, with an enhanced and strong guitar sound. The first two, taken from the album ‘Breath Of Life’ had been clearly benefited by new Clarkins’ biting guitars.
On “That Holy Touch” Bob Catley’s partially re-recorded vocals sound brighter in the mix along with a fresh rhythm section the whole song sounds ‘bigger’ than the original studio recording.
“Just Like January” too has grown in stature thanks to some sympathetic enhancing. Harry James’ newly recorded drums and Al Barrow’s beefed up bass serve to flesh out the whole affair. The majestic orchestration is also raised a notch with some Mark Stanway’s keyboard swathes sounding better than ever.
The album ‘Brand New Morning’ is represented by the coupling of the title track and “Immigrant Song”. These songs are a sonic revelation. The former has always had an opening crunch to it, but now it is ready to move up a weight division with Clarkin’s guitar and Barrow’s bass adding some significant punch. James’ drums also sound huge and add that killer left hook.
“Immigrant Song” is possibly the biggest improvement, and one that Barrow personally feels has had a sympathetic ‘face-lift’. The re-recorded bass and guitars give the song greater depth and weight.
“When We Were Younger” has been given a fresh lease of life and has far more impact than when first heard on the album ‘Princess Alice & The Broken Arrow’. The song has a new edge to it with James’ drums and some over-hauled guitar.
One of my favorites of the new era is the infectious “All My Bridges”. The newly recorded seasoned rhythm section has enhanced the song fist-pumping-pomp style. Love it.
The 2 new tracks done for “Evolution” are really good.
“The Fall” is an instant and catchy tune with an uplifting vibe. Stanway’s tender keyboards give way to a melodious guitar riff. This mid tempo AORish rocker cleverly eases through the gears with Catley’s voice creating amazing vocal melodies sounding better than ever.
“Do You Know Who You Are?” has a distinct ’80s AOR feel plenty of hooks. It’s full of lovely keyboards and a soaring vocal delivery by Catley. This is a song you’ll find humming to yourself long after it has finished. One of their best songs ever.
Very often bands add ‘new’ tracks to flesh out albums such as these, but this is most certainly not the case here with “Evolution”. It feels like a ‘new original album’, they have selected the best from the bunch and gave a new life to them.
“Evolution” celebrate this second era of Magnum very well and is a fantastic introduction to those who didn’t paid attention to their comeback works.
If you are a fan and already have these 2000 CD’s, this is essential as well because with these remixes / re-recordings all sounds perfect, crisp and vital. Additionally, you really need to hear the great two new tracks exclusive to this release.
01 – That Holy Touch
02 – Just Like January
03 – Brand New Morning
04 – Immigrant Song
05 – When We Were Younger
06 – Out of the Shadows
07 – All My Bridges
08 – Blood on Your Barbed Wire Thorns
09 – The Visitation
10 – Wild Angels
11 – The Fall (New song)
12 – Do You Know Who You Are (New song)
Bob Catley – vocals
Mark Stanway – keyboards
Tony Clarkin – guitars
Al Barrow – bass, backing vocals
Gary “Harry” James – drums
BUY IT !